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Inside the Beltway

Definition: “The Beltway” is a term used to describe the geographic area around Washington, DC, that is encircled by Interstate 495. “Inside the Beltway” refers to political and U.S. Government activities and work that occur in the greater Washington, DC, area.

History: The Capital Beltway (Interstate 495) was created in 1964, but it is unclear when the term “inside the Beltway” originated. However, Nicholas M. Horrock wrote in the New York Times on October 12, 1975, that, “It can be said that the myriad doubts about the Warren Commission’s findings in the death of President Kennedy represent a reverse situation. The doubts would never be taken seriously until they were inside the Beltway, in the halls of Congress, the courts and the White House.”